Academics and consumer advocates have stepped up a campaign urging food manufacturers to display labels of their products that match their ingredients.
The move came after a random survey by the Foundation for Consumers found about 50% of 70 to 80 collected samples of ready-to-eat and frozen food did not list ingredients in accordance with the product names.
Vasith Chavasit, director of the Institute of Nutrition at Mahidol University, said labels of products were like a window that allowed consumers to know what was inside. The labels would give consumers details of ingredients used in the products before buying them as some people might be allergic to certain contents such as wheat flour.
Mr Vasith said if a label showed that the product contained meat, the product manufacturer must clearly specify what kind of meat was used.
Jureerat Huarkieat of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said food manufacturers were required to display labels detailing raw ingredients in adequate amounts. The product labels must not contain false information.
The FDA has asked manufacturers to comply with the agency's regulations regarding the labels, she said.
Manufacturers who displayed false information on their labels have been given three months to come up with accurate labels. If the name of a product mentions a certain ingredient, such as chicken, the law says the product must contain at least 10% of that ingredient. Manufacturers in violation were liable to a fine of 30,000 baht, Ms Jureerat said.
Pachara Kaewkla of the Foundation for Consumers yesterday said the foundation has recently collected samples of ready-to-eat and frozen food products from superstores and convenience stores and found that about 50% of those samples had problems regarding product names that were not in accordance with raw ingredients used in the products.
A grilled pork with sticky rice burger, for example, contained other ingredients that did not match with the product name, he said.
The label showed the burger contained 67.7% sticky rice, 13.1% pork and 6.4% chicken meat though the product name did not mention chicken meat.
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- Writer: Penchan Charoensuthipan